10 good, great and ginormous feats in Ipswich winter sport
THE Ipswich region has been abuzz in recent weeks with classic contests, superb showdowns and terrific tributes.
As this year's unorthodox winter season warms up with more sports firing up later than usual, check out this countdown of 10 memorable achievements so far.
10. The Ipswich Turf Club's decision to name a popular viewing room in honour of Jeff McLean deserves a huge wrap.
McLean was best known for his rugby exploits and as a friendly publican at the Coronation Hotel for many years.
However, he was also an avid racegoer and did some tremendous work on the ITC committee, including a stint as deputy chairman.
Having him honoured 10 years after his passing was another brilliant move by the progressive turf club.
9. The junior rugby league partnership between Norths and Lowood to allow another young team to play in this year's restructured competition.
It was rated a "beautiful gesture'' by Norths official Michael Williamson after Lowood officials even bought the socks and shorts to make a temporary move into Norths territory.
Clubs working together can achieve anything.
8. The USQ Ipswich Jets netballers are back and talking up their Sapphire and Ruby Series season prospects this year.
There is nothing wrong with backing yourself and aiming high, as long as you put in the hard work.
Head coach Tracey Jeanes-Fraser will surely ensure that as the new Netball Queensland season finally got underway.
The Jets have also formed a new partnership with the Ipswich Netball Association to develop the region's best junior girls players.
7. Seeing newcomers Thistles inject new life into the Ipswich women's hockey competition has been most welcome.
Although only a four-team series with Norths and Swifts withdrawing, the matches have been extremely tight.
Thistles have brought some Brisbane players into the mix, strengthening the Ipswich competition.
6. The efforts of Ipswich State High School Rugby League Academy co-ordinator Josh Bretherton and his coaching staff are nothing short of exceptional.
After ISH revived their Langer Cup hopes with a stunning victory today, it is clear the Ipswich program is something special.
The players speak highly of the coaching support they receive and not only about rugby league. The players gain tremendous encouragement dealing with life challenges at school.
Bretherton is the ultimate professional in everything he does. Some other well-resourced regional schools could take a lead from how he and his team positively promote sport and make their players so available.
5. The Ipswich Knights and Western Pride have tackled some incredibly tough schedules in recent days but continue to battle on.
The Knights have enough quality to make another Football Queensland Premier League final series in coming months. Head coach Andy Ogden is a class act, always looking to strengthen the region.
Western Pride's top team, under first-time head coach Andrew Catton, is also developing some tremendous youth.
We can only hope we keep some of this exciting talent in our football programs for at least a few years.
And don't miss Saturday night's Queensland Premier League local derby at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex. Kick-off is 7pm.
4. The tremendous development work of coaches like Wests 'dynamic duo' Jade Close and Vanessa Kissane is sure to yield future benefits.
Former Hockeyroos striker Close and club stalwart Kissane have used the shortened hockey season to develop teenage talent, rather than write off the season as just a fun opportunity.
Having so many young players learning from an international sportswoman can only strengthen Ipswich hockey.
3. Defending Queensland Premier League SEQ Cup champions, the Ipswich Flyers, are continuing on their merry way this season under the guidance of smart and highly proficient coach Nicole Grant.
Having to deal with a delayed season and changed playing conditions is one thing. But Grant has organised a closeknit team threatening to challenge strongly for back-to-back titles.
Flyers' main rivals, the Goodna Sapphires, have also topped their pool in the first stage of this year's competition highlighting the strength of regional netball.
2. The form of the Goodna A-Grade side in the Rugby League Ipswich Volunteers Cup competition is nothing short of sensational.
With new head coach Alistair Taua'aletoa bringing in a wealth of youth and tireless captain Ramon Filipine reinvigorated, the club has a fresh and vibrant new look.
The team won its first two matches with speed and brilliant second half tries.
Goodna's young guns showed their character by winning a tough battle with West End last weekend. That ensured the annual memorial match for Matthew "Kama'' O'Brien was a beauty with Goodna just getting ahead after the final siren.
1. Having any decent sport played at all after the dreadful COVID shutdown is the number one achievement this winter.
Congratulations to all regional sports administrators and especially volunteers for making this happen.
Rugby League Ipswich president Gary Parker has done a fine job working with his board to get the sport going again. Joining with Toowoomba for a 10-week competition was a master stroke.
Hockey, basketball, football and netball officials and supporters have also done an outstanding job resurrecting what looked like a lost cause getting senior and junior players back.
While some clubs opted for the safety option to sit out the winter - and that's fair enough - the clubs that have battled through are reaping the rewards.
Some fantastic development is taking place building stronger teams for next season. And let's not forget the incredible health benefits of playing and watching sport.